METAIRIE, La. (WGNO)- If you are reading this and wondering why your trash was not collected this morning, here is why.
“It’s hell on wheels. We’re underpaid. Trucks (are) constantly breaking. I’m a one-man gang in the morning, I handle all these trucks, by myself,” said Robert Williams, Republic Services repairman.
About three dozen sanitation workers at Republic Services are marching out front of their place of work and refusing to go back until their demands are met. The “Teamster,” as they call themselves, feel like they are not being treated fairly.
“Man, we got some of these guys out here pulling asbestos cans, with dust masks and that’s not good. Our trucks are always breaking down, leaking oil. it’s just a bad situation,” said long-time employee, Ron Martinez. He has been working there for eight years and he says he is to his breaking point. The conditions are not improving.
Statement from Republic Services of New Orleans:
Republic Services is in negotiations for a contract covering our Teamsters-represented employees in New Orleans. Republic respects the rights of our employees to engage in the collective bargaining process, and we continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve a fair and competitive labor contract.
We anticipate that any service disruptions will be minimal and are making arrangements to ensure operations continue.
The company was recently named as one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies and is a certified Great Place to Work®.
About two weeks ago, four guys tried to get their point across peacefully by doing a small Pickett but, allegedly, Republic Services didn’t follow through.
Now, those four are not the only ones feeling like the conditions are unsafe and unrealistic. As the Teamster marched in a circle outside the republic Services Sanitation yard, they held up signs reading, “Clean up your act.”
“The thing I wanna see is all of these guys paid fairly across the board. This company here is the lowest paying company in the area,” Stephen Sorrell, President of Local 270 said. “The other companies are starting off between 25 and 26 dollars an hour. Some of these guys have been here 30 years making 20.66 which is totally unfair.”
Apologizing to the customers for the inconvenience, they continue to yell, “Republic Service, step up!”
The Teamsters told us they will continue to strike until the higher-ups sit down with them to make a new and fair contract.